SpaceX to apply for Starlink licence in India: Report

SpaceX plans to request a Global Mobile Personal Communications via Satellite Services (GMPCS) licence from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in order to launch broadband from space services under the Starlink brand in India, according to a report from ET.

The proposal will pit the Elon Musk-owned company against rivals like One Web, funded by the Bharti Group, and Reliance Jio Infocomm’s satellite division for a piece of the embryonic market, which is predicted to be worth $13 billion by 2025, as per the reports from the Economic Times article.

Following OneWeb and Reliance Jio’s satellite division, SpaceX will be the third company to apply for this critical licence required to deploy high-speed satellite internet services in India using its extensive network of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

Approval to Set up Local Gateways

SpaceX needs this to build satellite gateways and deploy its global satellite bandwidth capacity in India. INSPACE, a central regulatory agency, must grant these permissions. Additionally, the company’s website says Starlink isn’t available in India yet due to regulatory approvals.

It said India’s coverage would expand after this. Since it didn’t have an operating licence, the communications ministry obliged SpaceX’s Indian branch to stop taking pre-orders for its future satellite Internet services almost a year ago. Furthermore, SpaceX is likely to seek approval from the DoT to set up local gateways.

A person directly aware of the matter told ET that,

SpaceX will very shortly apply for a GMPCS licence to the Indian authorities to start satellite broadband services in the country. Separately, the company will also be seeking statutory approvals from the government for landing rights and market access.